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Grudge Race: Uncle Robin vs Gump Set for NMRA/NMCA St. Louis

Posted By: Ainsley Jacobs
Smack talk is essential to heads-up competition, and rivalries are the backbone of grudge racing. In an attempt to settle the age-old battle of brand supremacy, “Uncle Robin” Lawrence and “Gump” Daren Poole-Adams are planning to run a Ford versus Chevrolet match-up to prove who truly has the better machine.
After more than a decade of friendship and of having collaborated on many innovative projects between Holley and Chevrolet, the men aren’t shy with their brutal, no-holds-barred insults and bravado. They had been trying to put together the match race for over a year, but couldn’t coordinate a time or place that worked for both of the busy men.
Now, a date has been set – on Saturday, May 6, 2023, Lawrence and Poole-Adams will run heads-up in a “best 2 out of 3” race on a .500 pro tree during the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Illinois.
After Thursday’s test runs and Friday’s NMCA Micro Strategies Stock Eliminator qualifying sessions are done, the men will head to the ready line for their three heads-up passes – independent from the weekend’s standard schedule. It’ll be Lawrence from Illinois in his 2013 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet against Poole-Adams from North Carolina in his 20203 Chevrolet COPO Camaro, and anyone’s guess as to who will take the stripe.

“Daren and I are all about the rivalry between the 302 ci-powered cars,” explained Lawrence of the quintessential Mustang versus Camaro showdown where each car carries an NHRA factored horsepower rating of 350 but is capable of nearly 600 horsepower at the crank. “We’ll both be running the legal NHRA FS/G weights and are pretty evenly paired, but since this is an independent grudge match, we will be going all-out without worrying about hurting our indexes during qualifying.”
Although the cars are comparable when it comes to power production, how they both produce and utilize it is an entirely different story.
On Lawrence’s side, his Cobra Jet’s combination consists of a dual overhead cam, 4-valve Ford Coyote engine which spins past 9,000 rpm and is coupled to a 5-speed manual G-Force transmission with a 7” twin-disc clutch.
With backing from Holley, Lucas Oil, Goodyear, and Chevrolet, Poole-Adam’s COPO entry is powered by an LT-based pushrod engine that will be converted from its current direct injection configuration to use port injection prior to the outing. Also seeing upwards of 9,000 rpm, the Bowtie bullet is backed by a Turbo Action three-speed automatic.
“I feel this is the kind of excitement and drama that Stock Eliminator needs,” noted Poole-Adams, who is a proponent for his peers setting up match races and other specialty pairings. “We’re having fun and hope we can get other people to do it because heads-up runs are really about showcasing what these cars can do. I have several different COPOs, and I’m likely planning to call out Nicky Fowler at Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center next.”
With nothing on the line (for now) except priceless bragging rights and the opportunity for relentless gloating, Lawrence and Poole-Adams are both excited to settle the Cobra Jet versus COPO score in Spring. “With us both having the same horsepower ratings, the same weight, and no bickering since we’re friends, whatever the outcome is… it’ll be good,” affirmed Poole-Adams, “as long as I win.”

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